There are reasons to wear compression before treatment too.
South Portland, ME (PRWEB) April 25, 2013
For years, patients suffering from varicose veins and other effects of venous insufficiency had few options for treatment, among them vein stripping or ligation. Endovenous ablation, or EVLA for short, has been performed in the United States for more than 15 years. The minimally invasive procedure is now considered the gold standard in treatment of venous symptoms, largely replacing the previous, more invasive procedures.
EVLA is done on an outpatient basis, and recovery time for most people is very quick. According to Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen of the Vein Healthcare Center in Maine, graduated compression stockings play an essential role before and after vein treatments, including EVLA.
“Anyone that undergoes EVLA, sclerotherapy or other treatments for venous insufficiency must wear graduated compression stockings immediately following the procedure and during the recovery period,” said Dr. Asbjornsen. “What some may not realize is that there are reasons to wear compression before treatment too.”
Before a vein procedure, wearing compression stockings gives a person a snapshot of what vein health feels like. Since compression alleviates symptoms, it becomes easier for a phlebologist (vein specialist) to tease out, or confirm whether the leg pain is due to muscular-skeletal issues, the nervous system, or venous disease.
Another benefit to wearing compression prior to treatment is that it’s good to confirm that the patient can tolerate stockings, and/or that the stockings fit properly. After the procedure is the worst time to discover that the stockings don’t fit.
Alternatively, many who think that they could never tolerate compression stockings try on a modern stocking and find them quite bearable. Since compression prevents the progression of vein disease and controls symptoms, some people may even decide to take a more conservative approach, rather than proceed with definitive treatment.
Here are some tips for donning and doffing compression stockings:
- Put stockings on dry feet, first thing in the morning.
- Open the garment from the top and then work on getting the heel into place before bringing it up.
- When putting socks on, gather up many layers of fabric and stretch them over the foot, pulling them on as though they were trousers.
- To remove stockings, patients should peel them inside out, starting at the top, and never create a roll, which can feel like a tourniquet.
- For elderly patients who need help getting donning and doffing their stockings, there are some services available. Primary care physicians or senior centers can help find assistance.
- Different brands tend to vary in size and length, so in addition to trying on the stockings, it’s important to know what the store’s return policy is, whether purchasing them online or in person.
To better understand venous insufficiency and how compression works, here’s a review of how veins work. Veins carry blood from all the extremities back to the heart. The blood in the legs travels up against gravity, so when the valves in the veins become damaged, blood flows back into the legs to create a “pooling” effect.
Medical compression stockings provide a gradient of pressure against the leg. The pressure is highest at the foot and ankle and gradually decreases as the garment rises up the leg. This pressure gradient makes it easier for the body to pump blood up towards the heart (the normal direction) and more difficult for gravity to pull blood downward.
Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen is the founder of the Vein Healthcare Center, as well as the Maine Phlebology Association. Certified by the American Board of Phlebology, she cares for all levels of venous disease, including spider veins, varicose veins and venous ulcers. Dr. Asbjornsen is the only vein specialist in Maine to be named a Fellow by the American College of Phlebology. She is also the editorial director of Vein Health News, Maine’s vein magazine for primary care physicians.